Fables of the Sleepless Empire



by ChoccyPhilly USER (14 Reviews)
December 31st, 2013 | 9 replies

Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Crazy beyond comprehension at times, yet still somewhat rewarding.

To anyone who has heard of Unexpect and mad enough to have listened to their music, they will all know that Unexpect are no average metal band. Hailing from Canada, Unexpect are an avant-garde metal group who bend extremely away from any accessible music out there. When I first heard of Unexpect, the first thoughts I had were something along the lines of dazed and confused. The music sounded like a true mess! But messy music isn't necessarily a bad thing, and certainly not in the case of Unexpect.

The idea of Unexpect to me comes across as a very drunk Dimmu Borgir headed to the circus where they thought adding whatever instruments they could find would sound pretty awesome. They were so drunk in the end, that they forgot all their songs and ended up doing a free jazz style performance but instead with the instruments they had. I hereby now present Unexpect's 3rd full length LP, "Fables Of a Sleepless Empire". This band in general, play on many many different sounds and styles and throw them all into one pot with various outcomes, and Fables Of a Sleepless Empire is certainly part of that pot. Upon listening to the album for the first time, I struggled to last any 30 seconds without having to raise my eyebrow in confusion about what I had just heard. Whilst mainly having a kind of speed metal or death metal base, this band add many other styles which would be far too long to list in this review. "Bat *** crazy metal" is how my friend described it, and that's probably as good of a description as it gets for these guys.

After listening to the entire album a number of times, it feels as if Unexpect simply tried to make their music messy because it's just what they do. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that this is a bad thing and it doesn't work at all, It works very well in some songs, but no song is without their flaws. The problem is, almost every song sounds like multiple ideas, riffs and progressions stuffed together in roughly 6 or 7 minutes of utter chaos at times. This is a real problem for the truly bright, innovative riffs and passages in songs, which are over a bit too quickly, only to immediately be replaced by another passage just as soon as you finished enjoying the first. A good example of this for me is track 6 "Unfed Pendulum". In this 7 minute song, the first 5 minutes caught me immediately as strikingly different and quite enjoyable. It had the right combination of sounds and the vocals complemented the jazzy/baroque piano vibes very well all in good balance. Unfortunately, in the final 2 minutes, the song shifts completely from it's cheery style and enters a more heavy style dominated by the death growls which sound out of place and thrown in for the sake of making the song longer. But that small part of the song, no matter how minute, ruins the entire thing in the end. This trend happened throughout the ENTIRE album with every song simply having different degrees of tolerable and intolerable parts that you had to weigh out to see if the intolerable parts were worth it or not. This is the inevitable price of making the music so purposely cluttered, it doesn't draw on any one idea completely and the whole thing can sound like lost potential. As a result, the only song I can say satisfied me fully from start to finish ended up being one of the interludes. Track 7, "In the mind of the last whale". Standing at just under 3 minutes long, the entire track sounds like feedback and layered vocal hums with accompanied piano throughout. This is the kind of experimentation I would have hoped the rest of the album would follow. It offers a different realm of sound to the other songs with different textures and colours of sounds throughout which neatly climb on top of one another, rather than battling out the others in order to be heard. It truly would have given the whole album more edge if they decided to incorporate these experimental sounds into most songs, and it's not even like they haven't done it before! From their previous album, "In a Flesh Aquarium" on the first minute of the opening track "Chromatic Chimera" and "Silence 011010701". Songs end up sounding repetitive and hard to distinguish from one another. Tracks such as "Words" and "Orange Vigilantes" simply did not interest me in the slightest with (what I felt were) uninspired progressions.

However, this isn't all to say this album is a failure in any form. The production on the album is astounding for example. It highlights some of the best moments from ChaotH's 9 string bass by making it sound prominent at all times, such as on the first track "Unsolved ideas of a distorted guest", where the bass lines absolutely tear past the ethereal strings and harmonies beneath it. As mentioned earlier too, the album is certainly not short of some amazing moments and some of the combinations of clean and unclean vocals are breathtaking.

Overall, Fables of the Sleepless Empire is one of the most original albums I have come across in a long time and any metal fan looking for something completely out of the box and 'unexpected' (hehe) then this is certainly an album to try out. Whilst not perfect, it can at least render you startled at exactly what the *** you just listened to.

Recommended Tracks:
- Unsolved Ideas of a Distorted Guest
- Mechanical Phoenix
- Unfed Pendulum
- In The Mind Of The Last Whale
- A Fading Stance/When The Joyful Dead Are Dancing

Recent reviews by this author
Thantifaxath Void Masquerading as MatterGoGo Penguin Man Made Object
Geryon Geryonclipping. Something They Don't Know/Mouth
Sonata Arctica Ecliptica - Revisited: 15th Anniversary EditionZico Chain Food
user ratings (373)
other reviews of this album
jitteryzeitgeist (4.5)
It's UneXpect, on all cylinders, full-bore, hatef*cking thine ears into the Devils Circus....

Odal (4.5)
The carnival's back in town....

Maniac! (4.5)
My year is complete....

Comments:Add a Comment 
December 31st 2013


Your text format looks kind of weird, might want to fix that.

December 31st 2013


Review makes no sense whatsoever. Also, I didn't realize it was possible for an album to have two track sevens. Lastly, grammar is your friend. If English isn't your first language it's excusable, but if it is...

January 1st 2014


band sucks dick maniac digs em

Digging: Morbid Angel - Kingdoms Disdained

January 1st 2014



August 22nd 2014


Album Rating: 1.5

yeah this album is pretty shit

August 22nd 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

Fucking hell, this review. Such a cringe fest and i'm gonna have to do some major editing to this to avoid


Digging: Mount Kimbie - Love What Survives

September 28th 2014


Except for some typos and missing words really good review actually. The Dimmu Borgir part is great. Two little things I'd change though. The band name is already a worn after the first paragraph and this could use some editing:

"This is a real problem for the truly bright and innovative riffs and passages in songs which are over a bit too quickly and quickly replaced by another passage as quickly as the one you enjoyed finished"

September 28th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

I wrote this at like 5 in the morning i think, so it was far from perfect. I'm well aware that it needs a thorough clean up and I'm intending on doing it soon before anyone else sees this... but hey, thanks

October 8th 2014


Nice review, I enjoyed The Quantum Symphony on youtube. I liked how it kinda strung my attention along the whole runtime.

You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy